(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Arabia's exceptionally strong external and fiscal positions received a further boost yesterday as Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings at "AA-/A-1".
The outlook is stable. The transfer & convertibility assessment for Saudi Arabia is unchanged at "AA".
Commenting on S&P's report, Basil Al-Ghalayini, CEO of BMG Financial Group, said: "In addition to the sound macro economic policies, a new trend of transparency as well as strong domestic stability are factors keeping this favorable rating." However, Al-Ghalayini said: "There is room for further improvement, though, if the unemployment issue is corrected at a faster pace."
Jarmo T. Kotilaine, chief economist at the National Commercial Bank, said: "This is further confirmation of Saudi Arabia's status as an island of stability in a very uncertain world. Few countries right now can seriously entertain the prospect of a credit upgrade. However, the Kingdom has the benefit of years of prudent housekeeping and technocratic policymaking that have ensured a high degree of macroeconomic stability, which is unlikely to be seriously compromised in the foreseeable future even as external risks abound."
In some ways, Kotilaine said, Saudi Arabia's resilience and success today - as indeed that of many of its stable peers globally - builds on its ability to respond to past challenges, notably the low oil prices in the 1980s and '90s, with a clear strategic vision.